The biggest reason why I quite enjoyed watching Kick Ass 2 is that Hit Girl watches a boy band music video in disgust and mumbles ‘I would rather be waterboarded that listen to the songs of One Direction’. Hit Girl kicks ass. Even if there is little else in the film to appreciate, Hit Girl makes it a fun and entertaining watch.
A significantly lesser film than the original 2010 hit, Kick Ass 2 offers more of the same, with an amped up sense of nastiness and a smaller heart. That doesn’t necessarily make it an uninteresting movie, given the film’s premise, the characters that inhabit it. The film picks up a year post the events of the previous film, Dave (Aaron Taylor) has had enough of getting his ass kicked and asks Mindy (Chloe Moretz) to train him to be a proper fighter and become a real superhero instead of a mugging embarrassment. Mindy is forced to deal with the choice of being a normal school girl and a crime fighter. Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is bitter and becomes a supervillain named The Motherfucker to avenge the death of his father. It’s a relatively clichéd plot but the film knowingly employs the familiar story just to suspend it in the crazy whacked out teenage setting.
The previous film had Nicholas Cage in the best role of his career, and Jim Carrey fills the void this time to somewhat middling results. It’s great to see him back on the screen after his decade long slump, but it is sad to see that his star power has been reduced to a sidekick role in a sequel to a minuscule budget film. Director Jeff Wadlow takes over from Matthew Vaughn and offers a lot of the edgy violence but little of the absurdist humor the first film became famous for. The original film established the brash and mean spirited tone, the shock value of kids swearing and punching people, and the interesting theme of the world needing the reassurance of superheroes being around to keep things afloat. The problem with the sequel is that it banks on the very same things to sell itself. More of the same is passable fun, but not satisfying enough to people who loved the first film and look forward to an expanded universe in the sequel. Given Kick Ass’ relatively tiny profit it was a miracle that the sequel got made, and in a way the filmmakers wasted a golden opportunity to create something truly great.
There’s a scene where Hit Girl shoots her crush in his bullet proof vest clad back, and another scene where a villain is defeated by being impaled on shards of glass. You could take these scenes on face value as satiric social commentary, but these sequences give one the impression that the film actually becomes an example of the social issues rather that satirizing the issues. That said, there are plenty of laughs courtesy of Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl. Perhaps one day we’ll see a movie that stars Moretz and Jennifer Lawrence and witness the theater screen explode due to excessive awesomeness.
(First published in MiD Day)